‘Wild Lights’ exhibit returns to Tupper Lake
TUPPER LAKE — Wild Lights at the Wild Center is an immersive artwork that combines music, lights and nature to create a winter fairyland outside the natural history museum.
In its second year, Wild Lights is divided into two walks, Forest Music and Wild Walk.
Forest Music takes visitors down a quarter-mile loop trail, filled with colorful lights, lilting, sometimes haunting music and sculptures.
The lights, around 55,000 of them, were strung on 101 trees along the path, museum education team member Shannon V. Surdyk said.
The LED lights come in nine colors and cast a colorful glow over the white snow and contrast with the dark woods beyond the path.
The music was composed by Whatever Penny, an indie rock group from New Jersey that worked with the museum and sculptor Barny Barringer to complete the experience. Mr. Barringer’s sculptures are spread out though the woods.
“Wild Lights is really just designed to get people outside and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends and exploring nature in a fun and playful way,” Ms. Surdyk said.
The music comes from speakers hidden in the woods. It surrounds the listeners, seeming to come from every direction at once.
The Wild Walk is an elevated path that takes people to the top of the forest and visits some of the museum’s more popular features, like the Spider’s Web and Eagle’s Nest.
“New this year is the Stickwork sculpture,” Ms. Surdyk said. “Artist Patrick Dougherty and his son Sam were here for three weeks in August, and with the help of our staff and about 200 volunteers, they built a sculpture out of maple saplings.”
During the walk along the Wild Walk path, the Stickwork sculpture slowly reveals itself.
“Some people have said it looks like a gingerbread house,” Ms. Surdyk said.
Lit up with white LED lights, the sculpture has several entrances that lure viewers inside. Once inside, viewers are met with rooms and pathways, twisted through the structure built entirely of intertwined maple saplings.
The sculpture is clearly made of this world, but looks like it came from elsewhere.
Children race through the sculpture, gazing out its windows, while adults stand in the center, their heads tilted back, slowly spinning in circles to take it all in.
The exhibit opened in November and will remain open through the end of February. Reservations are required and there is a limit of 500 visitors per night.
The exhibit is proving to be popular. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the exhibit was open every day and was sold out nearly every night, Ms. Surdyk said.
Last year, because of health safety reasons, the capacity was kept to 250 visitors, Ms. Surdyk said.
With the addition of Stickwork and the reservation system, the center is able to keep people spread out enough to remain safe.
Wild Lights is open every Friday and Saturday night through the end of February and every day during Presidents Day week — Feb. 18 to 26. The exhibit is open from 5 to 7 p.m. and visitors can choose a reservation time of either 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.
For museum members the exhibit is $5 for adults and free for youth. For non-members, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for youth.
Whatever Penny’s music can be found at whateverpenny.bandcamp.com.
The museum is at 45 Museum Drive in Tupper Lake. More information is available at Wildcenter.org.